After my last post, FOMO, Digital Dementia and Our Dangerous Experiment, a couple of folks sent me some more alarming examples of the dangerous digital experiment, with the article below being the most outstanding.
I am incredulous regarding this article in The Telegraph: Infants 'unable to use toy building blocks' due to iPad addiction. The thought that kids aren’t able to create with blocks or Legos because they lack the motor skills thanks to i-Pad use floored Colson.
The second article involves the lack of eye contact parents are making with their babies because they are on their smartphones: For The Children's Sake, Put Down That Smartphone. I don’t own a smartphone and I do have a digitally addictive bent so my thoughts are likely not worth much, but I can’t imagine choosing the phone over my baby. When Colson was a baby I was, and still am, hypnotized by him. Watching him grow and excel, teaching and playing with him for the last 11 years has filled me with the most exquisite joy. I can’t imagine missing out on our experiences, but I can see how that happens. Not only are many smart phone parents missing out, but the development of their babies is being stunted.
I am a bit concerned about the coming summer when homeschool activities slow down and vacations ramp up. Our regular times to learn and play with friends come to a screeching halt in two weeks. We are in the middle of a gorgeous spring in a neighborhood full of kids, and not a kid to be found. Where are they all?
Colson is a really social kid who likes to run hard outside, but he can’t find any kids to run with except our homeschool friends, none of whom are less than 25 minutes away, and a good friend from our old neighborhood who finds herself pretty lonely now that Colson has moved. She and Colson were made for each other, tearing through the woods for some fierce neighborhood tag with a couple of others before the behavioral challenges of those kids became too much to overlook. Luckily her family and ours are committed to maintaining that relationship in spite of the distance, and fortunately, Colson had four years of almost daily outdoor play with her before we moved.
Back to the summer. We will have swim team where Colson can burn some energy three mornings and one evening a week and get a little physical and social time. He is also going to sleep away camp for the first time – to the mountains! East Coast Swing with his friends will be once a month. We are taking a vacation. And there is fencing. His comfort in the fencing community is growing. When Colson moved up a level he felt a bit awkward at first because he was so much younger, but the older kids have been wonderful to him and he is settled now.
All of that will be good, but it is still not the same as running out the door and playing with friends.
I wonder what childhood for today’s infants will translate into as they become toddlers and then kids. It is a lot of work to fight the digital societal trends. Lots of planning, organizing and driving in order to create a fuller life that used to be available just out the front door. I am grateful to the community that we have, for their conscientious parenting and willingness to plan, be creative and drive far to make it all work.